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Preparing our Footing
My greatest memory of our visit to the Spanish Riding School (Vienna, Austria) was the wonderful smell of the Arena Footing. No joke. When I googled “horse footing,” there were over nine million results. So, for those like me who did not previously know what was meant by “horse footing,” it is simply the ground upon which you are riding. On trails, it is the trail itself and all that comes with it. In an arena, oversimplified, it is the layers of “dirt” on the ground. The footing is one of the single most important elements of any riding program. It not only impacts the riding experience, but it has long term impact on horses as well.
If you have ever ridden in an arena or on a trail that is too rocky, filled with holes or ruts, too dusty, too wet, too hard, too deep, or too slippery, you know and can appreciate how important the right footing is for your riding experience, your safety and the safety of your horse. And not only in horsemanship, your footing is important for most sports – which is why millions are spent on ball diamonds and football fields – athletes must be confident in their footing for them to be able to give all they have physically.
As Stormwalker Ranch works hard to move confidently into the future, we are working on our own metaphorical footing. We must continue to build a solid base upon which to stand and work, so that we might build a healthy team and life-impacting programs. For riding arenas, footing starts with the base soil and from there it can be a mixture of many different elements. And that is why there are nine million results.
For our not-for-profit programs to thrive, we are in need of rich soil, a firm foundation. In the coming months we are expecting our tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status to be approved. This will provide additional benefit to our financial partners. Until then, it seems that our foundation continues to be a little rocky. Please consider helping us to build regardless of the potential tax benefit.
There are far greater benefits than financial, just ask the 6th-grade-boy growing up without a father when he encounters a real-life cowboy who is kind and encouraging. Or ask the 8th-grade-girl who lives in a rotation of relatives when she is taught that she is loved and valued through equine therapy. Ask the adult woman who desperately seeks to turn from a destructive path when she experiences the embrace of a loving community and learns about the forgiveness and unconditional love of the Savior who created her.
There are many ways you can participate. You can sponsor life-changing riding lessons for a scholarship child. You can sponsor a camp of 12 awkward middle-schoolers looking to help them prepare for the future. You can sponsor one of the vital Ranch or Camp projects geared to impact all who come to Stormwalker Ranch seeking refuge, redemption or renewal.
In the Power of His Grip,
Clay and Phyllis Scott